Advertising
Advertising

40 Wonderful Animated Short Films Which Will Melt Your Heart

40 Wonderful Animated Short Films Which Will Melt Your Heart

Whether it’s Disney, Pixar, or Studio Ghibli, feature length animated films can be at once breathtaking and sublime. There is a sub-genre, however, which receives less attention. Animated shorts have found a new audience since the advent of the internet, but many may still be unaware of their charms. To correct this, here’s a list of 40 wonderful animated short films to send you to a new realm of creative discovery.

1. Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

    We start things off with one of Pixar’s many brilliant short animations. This plays on the fairy tale of storks delivering children to waiting parents. Written and directed by Peter Sohn, it was shown to cinemagoers in 2009 before the feature film Up.

    2. Kiwi!

    Kiwi

      A melancholic tale of a kiwi who desires to fly. The creature has varied success with his attempts, and there’s an ambiguous ending, but there’s a certain poignancy to the story.

      3. Alma

      Alma

        Ex-Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas developed this 2009 animation. Another melancholic effort, it is nonetheless beautifully animated. It follows a child walking around Barcelona – “alma” meaning soul in Spanish, it reflects the maudlin nature of the film.

        4. Invention of Love

        Invention of Love

          “A love story from the world of gears and bolts”, this 2010 animation boasts remarkable animation. It consists of a bolt man who doesn’t quite understand how his world works.

          5. Steamboat Willie

          Steamboat Willie

            Walt Disney’s influential 1928 cartoon involved a certain Mickey Mouse. It was the first cartoon to feature fully synchronized sound, but Disney himself assisted with the animation. It’s also the source of parodies, as The Simpsons famously lampooned the cartoon with their Itchy & Scratchy characters.

            6. Where is Mama?

            Tadpoles

              Essentially a film about tadpoles searching for their mother, Te Wei’s 1960 animation has since been construed as an allegory of a particularly time in Chinese history. It’s worth noting, however, the animation is beautiful.

              7. The Old Lady and the Pigeons

              The Old Lady and the Pigeons

                Animation specialist Sylvain Chomet began work on this short film in 1991, finishing it circa 1996. In 1997 it won the grand prize at the Annecy Animated Film Festival. Its success paved the way for critically acclaimed feature films such as Bellville Rendezvous and The Illusionist.

                8. Johnny Express

                Advertising

                Johnny Express

                  Alfred Image Work’s amusing short about an incredibly lazy delivery man in the future. It’s a mildly melancholic, darkly humorous look at the potential future of delivery services.

                  9. Pong

                  Pong

                    In 2013 the BBC’s flagship movie review show, hosted by Dr. Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo, held a nationwide competition for short films. Philip Childwell’s charming Pong won the competition, based around a ping pong ball whom heads on an adventure.

                    10. ALARM

                    Alarm

                      Independent animator Moo-hyun Jang’s take on a familiar concept for all of us – our respective alarms waking us up in the morning.

                      11. French Roast

                      French Roast

                        Oscar nominated for Best Short Film in 2009, Fabrice O. Jubert (formerly of DreamWorks) displays a high flying businessman running into a sport of bother in a café.

                        12. Zero

                        Zero

                          Christopher Kazelos’ stop animation film won numerous awards. This includes “Best Animation” from the LA Shorts Festival. The plot centres around a love story, with concepts such as discrimination also breaches.

                          13. Geri’s Game

                          Geri's Game

                            More Pixar based fun as Geri, an ageing gentleman enjoying a game of chess, takes himself on. It won an Oscar in 1997 for Best Animated Short.

                            14. Minions

                            Despicable Me

                              The adorable Minions from the popular Despicable Me feature films have spawned several animated shorts. In this one, two Minions bicker pointlessly about a banana.

                              15. Scrat – Gone Nutty

                              Scrat

                                This 2003 animated short was Oscar nominated. It features the squirrel Scrat from the Ice Age series; he is infatuated with an acorn and destructively anarchic in his attempts to bury it.

                                16. Lavatory – Lovestory

                                Advertising

                                Lavatory

                                  This 2007 Russian short film was nominated for an Oscar in 2008. Konstantin Bronzit directed, and it depicts the life of a lavatory attendant receiving a pleasant surprise.

                                  17. Harvie Krumpet

                                  Harvie Krumpet

                                    Adam Elliot (who later developed the excellent Mary and Max for 2009) directed this tale of Harvie who, despite his troubles, enjoys the simple pleasures of life. It won an Oscar in 2003.

                                    18. The Chubbs-Chubbs!

                                    ChubbsChubbs!

                                      Winner of an Oscar in 2002, this was an effort by Sony Pictures Imageworks to determine their strengths in computer animation. It follows Meeper, a janitor of an alien pub, whose efforts to do good backfire somewhat.

                                      19. For The Birds

                                      For The Birds

                                        Another fine effort from Pixar, who won an Oscar in 2001 thanks to their effort. Typically charming, it features a set of birds attempting to make themselves comfortable on a telephone wire.

                                        20. Father and Daughter

                                        Father and Daughter

                                          A Dutch animation from 2000 by Michael Dudok de Wit. It bagged an Oscar and some 20 other awards, and it follows the life of a young girl who wonders about her estranged father over many seasons.

                                          21. Bob’s Birthday

                                          Bob's Birthday

                                            From 1993 we find Bob enjoying his birthday. A cute animation, Bob begins to wonder if his dentistry career isn’t what he wanted.

                                            22. A Close Shave

                                            A Close Shave

                                              Nick Park’s enduring classic from 1995 follows Wallace and Gromit on a new adventure. Park took his skills to a new level with this story, introducing Shaun the Sheep to the world.

                                              23. The Old Man and the Sea

                                              The Old Man and the Sea

                                                Based on Ernest Hemingway’s classic novella. Its unique style, which is paint-on-glass animation, takes the story’s classic themes and adds new life. Worthy of the Nobel Prize winning author.

                                                24. Tin Toy

                                                Advertising

                                                Tin Toy

                                                  Pixar showing off their skills once again, this time back in 1988. An Oscar winner, its pioneering animation paced the way for the likes of smash hits such as Toy Story. It depicts a young child at play with a toy.

                                                  25. The Man Who Planted Trees

                                                  The Man Who Planted Trees

                                                    Here’s another fine Oscar winner from 1987. Featuring sensational animation, it’s based on Jean Gioni’s eponymous story. It tells the tale of a shepherd’s attempts to re-forest a featureless valley.

                                                    26. Balance

                                                    Balance

                                                      Released in 1989, and winner of an Oscar in the same year, Balance is a unique tale which is set in what appears to be a dystopian future. A set of numbered men begin to, essentially, mess around in their environment as they discover the joy of having fun.

                                                      27. Bibo

                                                      Bibo

                                                        Contemporary fair now from Anton Chistiakov and Mikhail Dmitriev. Bibo is a poignant story about a lonely robot whom invents a luxurious world to ignore the severe nature of reality.

                                                        28. Creature Comforts

                                                        Creature Comforts

                                                          Nick Parks’ engaging 1990 Oscar winner which began a highly popular series. It follows creatures in a zoo who are interviewed about their experiences.

                                                          29. The Wrong Trousers

                                                          The Wrong Trousers

                                                            Nick Park won another Oscar for this superb Claymation film – by 1993 his mastery of the style was renowned. The Wrong Trousers follows Wallace and Gromit through another adventure, with a  devious penguin taking advantage of Wallace’s inventive spree.

                                                            30. Bunny

                                                            Bunny

                                                              Blue Sky Studio’s Oscar winner from 1998, Bunny follows an evening in the life of the eponymous female rabbit. She is bothered by a persistent moth in her home, which leads the way to a fantastical experience.

                                                              31. Story Time

                                                              Monty Python

                                                                Terry Gilliam transformed the surreal Monty Python’s Flying Circus into a show of utter madness. His unusual use of cutout animation was unique at the time (the late 1960s), and paved the way towards his career as a director. Story Time itself begins around the life of Don the Cockroach, but quickly spirals into mayhem.

                                                                32. Mr. Hublot

                                                                Advertising

                                                                Mr. Hublot

                                                                  Contemporary animation with the 2014 Oscar winner by Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares. The story is set around the eponymous protagonist, who appears to suffer from OCD. His daily routine is shattered by the arrival of a new pet.

                                                                  33. Paperman

                                                                  Paperman

                                                                    This was Disney’s first Best Animated Short Oscar (which it won in 2013) since 1970. This beautifully looking tale blends traditional animation with modern technology. It tells the story of George, an accountant, whose paper plane making habits are an attempt to woo the woman of his dreams.

                                                                    34. Strange Invaders

                                                                    Strange Invaders

                                                                      Cordell Barker’s loveably bizarre 2002 animation about a quiet couple whose lives are turned upside down by the sudden arrival of a child.

                                                                      35. Boundin’

                                                                      Boundin'

                                                                        More animated excellence from Pixar, who were Oscar nominated again for this effort. From 2003, this time we follow the life of a sheep who is coveted amongst his peers for his excellent dancing skills.

                                                                        36. Das Rad

                                                                        Das Rad

                                                                          Stop motion from Germany’s Chris Stenner, Arvid Uibel and Heidi Wittlinger. Oscar nominated in 2002, this inventive short tracks a hillside and a couple of sentient rocks from ancient times to the future.

                                                                          37. Ryan

                                                                          Ryan

                                                                            Chris Landerth’s tribute to Ryan Larkin (an influential Canadian animator). Released in 2004, it won some 60 awards (including an Oscar) for its unique style and emotional depth. Although it appears to use modern live action footage, rotoscoping, or motional capture, none of these techniques were used. It is entirely hand drawn.

                                                                            38. One Man Band

                                                                            One Man Band

                                                                              Pixar again prove their short animation expertise with a jaunty Oscar nominated film. Unusually, One Man Band is completely free of dialogue; it follows the exploits of two competing musicians fighting for a customer’s money.

                                                                              39. The Danish Poet

                                                                              The Danish Poet

                                                                                Inspiring Oscar winning animation from Torill Kove in 2006. The story follows the exploits of Kaspar Jørgensen as he travels to Norway to meet an acclaimed writer. A bittersweet tale ensues, taking in themes such as love, loss, and the nature of life.

                                                                                40. Even Pigeons Go To Heaven

                                                                                Pigeons

                                                                                  A French short from Samuel Tourneux, nominated for an Oscar in 2007. Distinctly French in tone and style, it is also darkly humorous in its playfully melancholic nature. It follows the elderly Mr. Moulin as he is duped out of his savings, only for an unusual turn of events to play out.

                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Aardman Wallace and Gromit – Jordanhill School and D&T Dept via flickr.com

                                                                                  More by this author

                                                                                  Alex Morris

                                                                                  Content Manager, Copywriter, & Blogger

                                                                                  10 Relaxing Games to Play Online to Help Chill You Out 53 Fun Things You Can Do This Weekend 35 Inspirational Movies That Will Change Your Life 21 Inspirational Documentaries That Will Change Your Life 16 Educational and Inspirational Classical Music Compositions

                                                                                  Trending in Leisure

                                                                                  1 How to Enjoy Life In a Way Most People Don’t 2 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are 3 30 Fun Things to Do at Home 4 10 Things Only Those Who Travel With Friends Understand 5 20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

                                                                                  Read Next

                                                                                  Advertising
                                                                                  Advertising
                                                                                  Advertising

                                                                                  Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                                                                                  The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                                                                                  The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                                                                                  Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                                                                                  your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                                                                                    Why You Need a Vision

                                                                                    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

                                                                                    Advertising

                                                                                    How to Create Your Life Vision

                                                                                    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                                                                                    What Do You Want?

                                                                                    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                                                                                    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

                                                                                    Advertising

                                                                                    Some tips to guide you:

                                                                                    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                                                                                    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                                                                                    • Give yourself permission to dream.
                                                                                    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                                                                                    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                                                                                    Some questions to start your exploration:

                                                                                    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                                                                                    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                                                                                    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                                                                                    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                                                                                    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                                                                                    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                                                                                    • What qualities would you like to develop?
                                                                                    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                                                                                    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                                                                                    • What would you most like to accomplish?
                                                                                    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                                                                                    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

                                                                                    Advertising

                                                                                    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                                                                                    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                                                                                    A few prompts to get you started:

                                                                                    • What will you have accomplished already?
                                                                                    • How will you feel about yourself?
                                                                                    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                                                                                    • What does your ideal day look like?
                                                                                    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                                                                                    • What would you be doing?
                                                                                    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                                                                                    • How are you dressed?
                                                                                    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                                                                                    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                                                                                    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                                                                                    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

                                                                                    Advertising

                                                                                    Plan Backwards

                                                                                    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                                                                                    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                                                                                    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                                                                                    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                                                                                    • What important actions would you have had to take?
                                                                                    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                                                                                    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                                                                                    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                                                                                    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                                                                                    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                                                                                    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                                                                                    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                                                                                    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

                                                                                    Read Next